Friday, December 23, 2011

Neighborhood Watch

I'm on high alert around these parts. You probably saw my post about my crazy neighbor with the pitbull. It's caused me to pay attention to every little thing that's going on in my neighborhood. Probably too much.

Wednesday morning at 3AM, Roscoe dog woke me up by his efforts to dislodge something from his throat. Gross, yes. Necessary, probably. I let him out of the bedroom to get a drink. When I followed him into the kitchen, I noticed my neighbor's light was still on in her living room. She always turns all lights off in her house when she goes to bed, so it struck me as strange. The next morning, as I was leaving for work, I noticed her front blinds were open - again, she's a creature of habit and regularly closes them when she's asleep. This put me on edge.

Rita is like a mother to me. Her husband passed away 2 years ago, but they both welcomed me into this neighborhood with open arms. Jeff would regularly do the fatherly things I needed help with - installing my front porch light, teaching me how to creep around my house with a Maglight on my shoulder if I heard a strange noise, all of those good things. After he passed, Rita and I became really close and would regularly talk about the day to day. She needed the company, and I loved hearing her stories. Because she's retired, she has been a true blessing for Roscoe. He gets to stay in her house ALL DAY LONG. When he's not in her house, he's playing with her dog in our shared backyard. We're close, y'all.

So when things seemed amiss, I immediately called over to her house. She didn't answer, and I wasn't entirely surprised. She usually didn't wake up until 10:30 or 11, so I left a message asking her to call me when she got up. When 10:30 rolled around, I called back. No answer. And this is when I went in to panic mode.

I immediately took a poll of what I should do - call the cops to have them check on her? Just wait another hour or so? Have a friend go check on her? Yes, that's what I'll do. Have a friend drop by her house. Luckily, I have several Normanite friends, and when I put out an APB on Facebook, I had 4 separate responses. My friend, Erica (God bless Erica), was willing to run over to Rita's house just to make sure everything seemed in order. Mainly, I wanted to make sure Rita hadn't collapsed on her living room floor - it's happened twice before, so don't think I'm overreacting.

Erica, after about 10 minutes of knocking, looking through windows, and ringing the doorbell, finally got an answer from Rita. A wave of relief came over me. I'm sure Rita was a little irked that she had just been awoken from a restful night's sleep. But, I didn't care. To me, making sure she was okay was far more important.

What was incredible about this whole story is that Rita was so touched that I even cared enough to call. I think that our society as a whole should take care of each other - that's why I'm in the career I'm in. But, why don't we spend more time getting to know our neighbors (and their patterns, as it were)?

So, I implore you to take a little time in 2012 to get to know your neighbors. I know that my extreme overprotection for mine turned out to just be a false alarm, but what if it hadn't?

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